Holidays – Then and Now

Christmas TreeI love the holidays.  Truly my favorite time of year.  The festivities, the crisp in the air (well SoCal crisp, anyway), the music, the food, the lights – all of it.  I look forward to it all year, and then miss it once it’s gone.

And having children has only heightened (changed?  evolved?) my joy of the season.  Never will I look at Christmas the same way again.

Then, during a typical pre-child holiday season… After a leisurely Thanksgiving feast, we would enjoy another glass of wine and begin thinking about our Christmas plans.  Should we travel?  Hawaii for the holidays?  How about Aruba?  Is Australia too far?

Now… You take the kids and I’ll do the dishes.  Hey, we don’t throw pumpkin pie in this house!  We need to start getting ready for Christmas – so much to do.  Did you get the decorations out of storage?  Do you have a list?  Add the kids’ x/y/z events to the calendar.  Don’t hit your brother!

Then… We’d take a quiet stroll around the neighborhood to enjoy the holiday lights.  Look at that house – that’s creative!  Should we put up our lights?  Eh, we’ll get to it.  Oh, I booked our flights to Hawaii.  Need some new clothes!

Now… Daddy, what are THOSE lights?  Mommy, wow, look at these lights! LOOK DADDY MOMMY LOOK LOOK THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS LIGHT!  Daddy, STOP TALKING TO MOMMY AND LOOK AT THE LIGHTS!!  Ohhhh wooowwww, purple lights!  Look MOMMY DADDY LOOK IT’S PURPLE LIGHTS SEE IT IS PURPLE SEE MOMMY DADDY STOP TALKING AND LOOK!  Daddy, when are you putting up our lights??  Can we get purple lights too?  I help you Daddy.  Can we put lights up tonight??  Let’s put lights now!  I want PURPLE!  MOMMY GO HOME WE ARE PUTTING PURPLE LIGHTS UP NOW!  OH LOOK, RUDOLPH!  Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle allll the wayyy….

Then… Okay, let’s start our Christmas shopping.  What should we get so-and-so?  Maybe we can personalize something.  I will look at a few catalogs and check out a few stores.  Oh, and maybe we can stop by that cute little specialty shop in Santa Barbara this weekend.  What would you like?  A weekend away?  How about a new TV?  Surround sound?

Now… Hurry up, we have a lot more shopping to do!  Sit down in the cart, boys!  What?  Yeah, yeah that’s fine.  It’s ripped?  Oh it’s fine, it’s the last one, they won’t even notice – throw it in the cart.  Quick – grab that sweater!  We don’t throw things out of the cart!  How many more people do we have on the list?

Then… Yay, wrapping night!  Honey, can you make me a candy-cane-tini?  Turn up the holiday music.  I can’t wait to wrap this gift in the fancy paper and with that adorable tag idea I found on Pinterest!  So pretty.  I can’t wait until she sees it!  Let me take a picture of it under the tree.

Now… Put the kids to bed.  I’m running to the Dollar Tree to stock up on a mountain of wrapping paper and gift bags.  Okay, I’m back.  Quick – help me wrap these.  Only have a few hours.  No talking – just wrap!  Cover the tear with tape; he’ll never know.  Throw them under the bed.  WTF – no more gift bags??  We need more bags!  Go get more bags!  My back hurts.

Then… [In the mall] How adorable!  Look at those sweet children sitting on Santa’s lap.  Isn’t that cute?  Imagine if we had children, and they were waiting in line to see Santa.  So darling.

Now… Where’s Santa?  Mommy Daddy where is Santa?  He is on a break?  Why?  Whyyyyy?  Why do we have to wait?  Is that Santa’s brother?  Santa went potty?  I want Santa NOW!  Mommy, is he in the North Pole?  He went on a break to the North Pole?  Where is Rudolph?  Is he outside?  MOMMY HE IS COMING BACK THERE HE IS!   LOOK LOOK THERE IS SANTA!  Is it my turn?  When is it my turn?  After that boy?  Now?  Is it my turn now?  Now?  After her it is my turn?  Now?  Can I see him now?  Yes? … Noooo!  I don’t WANT to see Santa!  NOOOO!!!  NO!  No SANTA!  I don’t want a candy cane!  I don’t WANT TO!  AAAAAHHHHH, NOOOO!!!!  I no LIKE SANTA!!!!  WAHHHHHH!!!

Then… Holiday parties!  Lunches!  Cocktails!  Dress up!  Dancing!  Music!  Bubbles and fun!  Presents!  White Elephant!  Mistletoe!

Now… Threats.  Santa is watching you ALL THE TIME.  You need to be good or Santa won’t want to bring you gifts.  Yes, Santa saw you hit your brother.  Yes, the Elf tells Santa what he sees.  Stop that right now!  If you don’t stop that right now, I am going to be making a phone call to Santa!  I talked to Santa last night and he is NOT happy.

Then… Ahh, Christmas Eve.  Let’s have a drink in front of the fire and watch the lights on the tree.  Tomorrow, Hawaii!  One more drink and then let’s call it a night.

Now… How is it already Christmas Eve!?!  Here’s the game plan: I’ll take the kids to the park and you wrap the remaining gifts; I will come back and drop the kids with you and then run to the store for the gifts I forgot to buy you this year; then when I come back we’ll put the kids down for a nap and I will wrap the new gifts and you can go buy a few gifts for me and then we can start on Christmas dinner.  OH NO – tree!  We need a Christmas tree!  Okay, go get the tree and I will find the lights.  YES BOYS, Santa saw that and he is NOT pleased right now – we do not throw toys in this house!

…. And at the risk of cutting this piece awkwardly short, just know that I could go on and on but, frankly, am exhausted.  And let’s face it – these gifts ain’t gonna wrap themselves so Mama’s got some work ahead of her!  I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and joyful holiday.  And restful.  Did I say restful?  Get some rest and relaxation in there as well.  🙂

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